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Chapter 11. Designing for People > Perpetual Intermediates

Perpetual Intermediates

Typically, our most powerful tools help us to understand, visualize, and inhabit the personalities of our users. One mental model that we use routinely is called perpetual intermediates. Most users are neither beginners nor experts; instead they are perpetual intermediates. Remember Rupak, Shannon, Dexter, and Roberto from the discussion of skill levels in Chapter 9? Although their backgrounds vary widely, all four of them are perpetual intermediates.

The experience of people using interactive systems—as in most things—tends to follow the classic bell curve of statistical distribution. For any silicon-based product, if we graph the number of users against their particular skill levels, there will be a few beginners on the left side, a few experts on the right, and a preponderance of intermediate users in the center.


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